Charleston Hughes has been one of the most decorated defenders in the CFL for over a decade. Charleston’s resume is as good as any defensive player that has played in Canada in recent memory. He is a 2x Grey Cup winner, has led the CFL in sacks on four separate occasions. (2013, 2016, 2018, 2019). Hughes has racked up 132 sacks in his stellar career as a six-time All-Star. Only three sacks behind fifth-place all time. Counting the postseason, Hughes has played over 200 games in Canada.
The Argos Decision
The two-year delay between seasons, from 2019 to 2021, saw a steep decline in Charleston’s productivity. Hughes went from leading the league in sacks with 16 for Saskatchewan to registering only two sacks in nine games played for the Argos this past season.
The eternally undefeated Father Time notched another victory in 2021 as it appeared that time had finally caught up to Hughes, who, even at the age of 37 in 2019, was terrorizing opposing quarterbacks.
By the end of last season, Charleston Hughes, one of Toronto’s most heralded offseason signings, became an afterthought. Hughes played the role of player/coach/mentor all year long. But his role as a starter diminished greatly as the season wore on. It even got to the point where Hughes was a healthy scratch for the Boatmen in pivotal games down the stretch.
The Argos parting ways with Hughes is not surprising to anyone who followed the team closely all year. The expectations were high for Charleston, but as the season progressed, reality set in that he wouldn’t be the same difference-maker that he has always been.
There was even a sense of frustration made public by Toronto’s top brass due to the lack of productivity. During a conference call with the media back in October, then VP of Player Personnel John Murphy made a pretty strong statement when asked about Charleston Hughes’s lack of productivity.
“Hey, we are here to make plays. We are not here to almost make plays” “We didn’t sign somebody to almost get pressures” “For his job security and mine. He better start getting to the quarterback.”
The writing was always on the wall for Hughes. As it turns out, whether John Murphy returned or not. Now both Hughes and Murphy are gone for entirely different circumstances. The Argos are turning the page on 2021 and moving towards 2022.
Charleston Hughes is one of the classiest and most beloved and respected figures in the CFL community. He hasn’t commented publicly yet on his departure with the Argos. And there’s no telling what will his future will hold.
Could this be the end of the line for Hughes? It’s possible. He has already branched out into the coaching field and somewhat got a taste of that with Toronto last season.
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